Dayton’s new klezmer band & ‘Israeli Bus Stories’ at Jewish Cultural Festival

By Marshall Weiss, The Dayton Jewish Observer
Along with the nosh, drink, vendors, and live animals we’ve come to expect at Temple Israel’s Jewish Cultural Festival, this year’s version will feature a new klezmer band — based here in Dayton — and a talk with one of Israel’s most seasoned broadcast journalists.

Now in its eighth year, the festival will be held on Sunday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the campus of Temple Israel, 130 Riverside Drive, Dayton. Admission is free.

Not even a year old, the Miami Valley Klezmer Ensemble will take the stage at the outdoor entertainment tent at 1 p.m.

New York native Rich Begel — a trombonist with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra since 2003 and low brass instructor with several local schools and colleges — started the ensemble because of his personal interest in klezmer, Jewish folk music of Eastern Europe.

Begel, who lives in Kettering, said his first concert with the group was at his synagogue, Beth Adam, a Humanistic congregation in Loveland.

The ensemble also played at Beth Abraham Synagogue’s Mother’s Day brunch on May 13 and will perform for Dayton Porchfest at St. Anne’s Hill on Aug. 25.

“My interest was always a thread in the back of my mind,” he says of the klezmer genre. “I started doing it alone. Being in Ohio, not New York anymore, for the Jewish music, it seemed like something I had to do alone.”

Musicians who will perform with the klezmer ensemble for the Jewish Cultural Festival are Cantor Jenna Greenberg on accordion, Centerville High School Jazz Ensembles Director Bill Burns on clarinet, and Dayton Philharmonic Violinist John Lardinois.

Begel has other professional musicians lined up to play violin, clarinet, and accordion to ensure all parts are covered, given performers’ busy schedules.

“There are so many different kinds,” Begel says of klezmer. “It’s a world where there’s say, a few thousand tunes. It’s big enough to take a lifetime to study, and small enough to want to know them all. I feel like with a couple of years, I can sort of get to know all of these, like I can get to know the jazz standards.”

Israeli stories of real life
Veteran Israeli radio journalist David Ze’ev Jablinowitz will present Israeli Bus Stories: Day-to-Day Life In The Jewish State at 3 p.m. inside the temple.

A New York native, Jablinowitz has covered Israel on a daily basis since his arrival there in 1981. For 36 years, he anchored newscasts and conducted ground-breaking interviews for Kol Yisrael English Radio, including the Demjanjuk trial, massive immigration of Ethiopian Jews, political and diplomatic upheavals, peace efforts, and terror attacks.

Jablinowitz has interviewed seven consecutive Israeli prime ministers, from Yitzhak Shamir to Benjamin Netanyahu.

His latest venture is a podcast, David Ze’ev in Israel: News, Politics, and People.

On Monday, June 11 at 12:30 p.m., Jablinowitz will present the talk, Israel and the U.S.: Where Politics and Diplomacy Meet, at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. 3rd St., Dayton, for its Brown Bag Lunch Discussion series. The program is free. Both of his talks are sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton’s Community Relations Council.

Food vendors for the June 10 festival include Bernstein’s Fine Catering, El Meson, Pasha Grill, Smokin Bar-B-Que, and Graeter’s, with beer provided by The Dayton Beer Company.

Also performing at the festival will be the Dayton Jewish Chorale led by Cantor Jenna Greenberg, Miami Valley Music Men, Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players, The Boxcar Suite, JCC Children’s Theatre, The Shimmy Cats, Grant Halasz, and Pam Schwartz.

For more information about the festival, call the temple at 496-0050 or go to

To read the complete June 2018 Dayton Jewish Observer, click here.

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